SPANISH police have arrested 10 suspects in Madrid and Barcelona and smashed an international sports doping ring allegedly linked to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, officials say.
Police said the network was implicated in competitors’ positive doping tests at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, cycling’s 2010 Tour of Spain and 2009 Tour of Portugal, as well as the 2010 Spanish athletics championships.
Although police believe they have dismantled the ring, a second round of raids and arrests cannot be ruled out, a spokesman for the regional Catalan police said.
Police said they swooped on the group ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Given the difficulties identifying final clients “and the proximity in time of the London 2012 Olympic Games, we decided to dismantle the group when the head of the organisation” was in Spain, they said in a statement.
Among those detained was the alleged brainchild, a Spanish-Colombian doctor identified only as Alberto B N “who had many contacts in elite sport”, the statement said.
The doctor, who was implicated in “multiple doping cases in different countries”, was arrested at Madrid-Barajas airport on March 5 allegedly with doping substances in his possession, police said.
The operation began last year when police were investigating a shop in Mataro, near Barcelona, that sold anabolic steroids to sportspeople, officers said.
The shop was allegedly linked to a Catalan athlete’s positive test for a synthetic steroid called EPO, or erythropoietin, in the 2010 Spanish athletics championships, the statement said.
The shop received EPO from Morocco via two people, one of whom was a nurse at a dialysis centre, “where he is suspected of stealing different types of EPO”, the police said.
The shop is also alleged to have delivered EPO to two Moroccan brothers in Madrid who administered doping substances to cyclists.
Police said Alberto B N was head of the network and that in seven raids they seized documents, growth hormones and various steroids including a type of EPO known as CERA (continuous erythropoietin receptor activator).
Spanish Sports Minister Jose Ignacio Wert said last month that the government would try to harmonise Spain’s anti-doping laws with World Anti-Doping Agency requirements.
This was a crucial aspect of Madrid’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics, the minister said.
Spain’s anti-doping law makes trafficking in sports doping products a criminal offence.
But the regulations have been criticised for restricting the timing of out-of-competition tests and amount of the information competitors must give on their whereabouts.
The Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport last month handed a two-year ban to two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador after he tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol.
Contador said it was due to a contaminated steak eaten during the 2010 Tour de France. He has also said that his lawyers are looking into a possible appeal.
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/london-olympics/spanish-police-bust-drug-ring-implicated-in-positive-tests-at-beijing-olympics-tour-of-spain-and-the-tour-of-portugal/story-fn9dirj0-1226305966906Social tagging: banned substances > cheat > cycling > illegal > Olympics > police > testing > Tour